Glossary of Food Terms

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                                                                                                       4‑H 93111
                                                                                          Reprinted February 2006

Glossary of Food Terms
E. Husted

T    ested recipes and good measuring techniques
     help ensure good results when cooking and
baking. It’s also important to understand the terms
                                                          To moisten meat or other foods while cooking,
                                                          in order to add flavor and to prevent drying of
used in the instructions of a recipe. Each term has       the surface. The liquid usually is melted fat, meat
a specific meaning. Understanding these terms and         drippings, fruit juice, sauce, or water.
using the correct procedure contribute to the success
of the food product. The terms describe techniques to     Batter
use when working with the ingredients. Some of the        A mixture of flour and liquid, usually combined with
most common terms are listed below to help you as         other ingredients, as in baked products. The mixture is
you prepare food and learn about food preparation.        of such consistency that it may be stirred with a spoon
                                                          and is thin enough to pour or drop from a spoon.
To cook in an oven or oven‑type appliance. Covered        Beat
or uncovered containers may be used. When                 To make a mixture smooth by introducing air with a
applied to meats in uncovered containers, the             brisk, regular motion that lifts the mixture over and
method generally is called roasting. Common oven          over, or with a rotary motion as with an egg beater or
temperatures are:                                         electric mixer.

   250°F to 275°F         Very slow oven                  Blanch
   300°F to 325°F         Slow oven                       (Precook.) To preheat in boiling water or steam.
                                                          (1) Process used to deactivate enzymes and shrink
   350°F to 375°F         Moderate oven
                                                          some foods for canning, freezing, or drying.
   400°F to 425°F         Hot oven                        Vegetables are blanched in boiling water or steam,
   450°F to 475°F         Very hot oven                   and fruits in boiling fruit juice, syrup, water, or steam.
   500°F to 525°F         Extremely hot oven              (2) Process used to aid in removal of skins from nuts,
                                                          fruits, and some vegetables.
To roast slowly on a gridiron or spit, over coals, or     Blend
under free flame or oven electric unit, usually basting   To mix two or more ingredients thoroughly.
with a highly seasoned sauce. Popularly applied to
foods cooked in or served with barbecue sauce.

                                                          Elaine Husted, Extension agent, Grant County; Oregon State
                                                          University. Resources used: American Home Economics
                                                          Association Handbook of Food Preparation, Cardinals
                                                          Handbook of Recipe Development, and World of Food,
                                                          3rd edition.
Boil                                                      Fold
To cook in water or a liquid consisting mostly of         To combine by using two motions, one which cuts
water in which bubbles rise continually and break on      vertically through the mixture, the other which turns
the surface. The boiling temperature of water at sea      over by sliding the implement across the bottom of
level is 212°F or 100°C.                                  the mixing bowl.

Braise                                                    Fry
To cook meat or poultry slowly in a covered utensil in    To cook in fat. Applied especially to (1) cooking in
a small amount of liquid or in steam. (Meat may or        a small amount of fat, also called sauté or pan‑fry;
may not be browned in a small amount of fat before        (2) cooking in a deep layer of fat, also called deep‑fat
braising.)                                                frying.

Bread                                                     Grill
To coat with crumbs of bread or other food; or to coat    To cook by direct heat. Also a utensil or appliance
with crumbs, then with diluted, slightly beaten egg or    used for such cooking.
evaporated milk, and again with crumbs.
Broil                                                     To reduce to particles by cutting or crushing.
To cook by direct heat.
Caramelize                                                To cut into slivers resembling matchsticks.
To heat sugar or foods containing sugar until a brown
color and characteristic flavor develop.                  Knead
                                                          To manipulate with a pressing motion accompanied
Chop                                                      by folding and stretching.
To cut into pieces with a knife or other sharp tool.
Cream                                                     To let food stand in a marinade which is a liquid,
To soften a solid fat such as shortening or butter with   usually an oil‑acid mixture such as French dressing.
a fork or other utensil, either before or while mixing
with another food, usually sugar.                         Mince
                                                          To cut or chop into very small pieces.
To divide food materials with a knife or scissors.        Mix
                                                          To combine ingredients in any way that effects a
Cut In                                                    distribution.
To distribute solid fat in dry ingredients by chopping
with knives or pastry blender until finely divided.       Pan‑Broil
                                                          To cook uncovered on a hot surface, usually in a fry
Dice                                                      pan. Fat is poured off as it accumulates.
To cut into small cubes.
Dredge                                                    To cook in a small amount of fat. (See Fry and
To cover or coat with flour or other fine substances      Sauté.)
such as bread crumbs or corn meal.
Panning                                                                          Scallop
Method of cooking vegetables in their own juices in a                            To bake food (usually cut in pieces) with a sauce
tightly covered pan. A small amount of fat is used to                            or other liquid. The food and sauce may be mixed
moisten the pan before juices escape.                                            together or arranged in alternate layers in a baking
                                                                                 dish, with or without a topping of crumbs.
To boil until partially cooked. Usually cooking is                               Sear
completed by another method.                                                     To brown the surface of meat by a short application of
                                                                                 intense heat.
To cut off the outside covering.                                                 Simmer
                                                                                 To cook in a liquid just below the boiling point, at
Peel                                                                             temperatures of 185 to 210°F (85 to 99°C). Bubbles
To strip off the outside covering.                                               form slowly and collapse below the surface.

Poach                                                                            Steam
To cook in a hot liquid, using precautions to retain                             To cook in steam with or without pressure. The steam
shape. The temperature used varies with the food.                                may be applied directly to the food, as in a steamer or
                                                                                 pressure cooker.
To restore concentrated foods such as dry milk or                                Steep
frozen orange juice to their normal state by adding                              To allow a substance to stand in liquid below the
water.                                                                           boiling point for the purpose of extracting flavor,
                                                                                 color, or other qualities.
To soak, cook, or use other procedures with                                      Stew
dehydrated foods to restore water lost during drying.                            To simmer food in a small amount of liquid.

Roast                                                                            Stir
To cook uncovered in hot air. Meat usually is roasted                            To mix food materials with a circular motion for the
in an oven or over coals, ceramic briquettes, gas flame,                         purpose of blending or securing uniform consistency.
or electric coils. The term also applies to foods such as
corn or potatoes cooked in hot ashes, under coals, or                            Toast
on heated stones or metal.                                                       To brown by means of dry heat.

Sauté                                                                            Warm
To brown or cook in a small amount of fat. (See Fry.)                            A temperature of 105 to 115°F (40 to 46°C) for liquid
                                                                                 or food.
(1) To heat milk to just below the boiling point, when                           Whip
tiny bubbles form at the edge. (2) To dip certain foods                          To beat rapidly to incorporate air and increase volume.
in boiling water. (See Blanch.)                                                  Generally applied to cream, eggs, and gelatin dishes.

This publication was produced and distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension work is a cooperative
program of Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Oregon counties. Oregon State University Extension Service offers edu-
cational programs, activities, and materials—without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital
status, disability, or disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran status. Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Published July 1989. Reprinted February 2006.

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